The atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge was flat even before Arsenal’s 63rd-minute winner yesterday, as the home side were dominated for much of the 90 minutes. You sensed supporters never fancied their side’s chances against the Premier League leaders, who have opened up a 13-point gap over Chelsea.
Arsenal were better drilled tactically and the Blues, despite spending more than double the Gunners in the summer transfer window, managed just five shots, their lowest total for a League game this season, highlighting their lack of creativity.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was booed by the away support throughout and only touched the ball eight times before being hauled off straight after the goal.
Chelsea were second best all afternoon, and their sense of frustration saw them give away 20 free-kicks. The honeymoon period is over for Potter. He went unbeaten in his first nine games in charge but has now taken only two points in his past four matches.
Chelsea have suffered back-to-back League defeats for the first time since December 2020, shortly before Frank Lampard was sacked. Potter, of course, is in no danger of losing his job, but there is indifference among many fans towards him. That could be in part because he follows Thomas Tuchel, a much-loved Champions League-winning manager.
Tuchel was charismatic, entertaining and passionate on the touchline, attributes Potter is yet to show. His press conferences have been viewed as uninspiring, with his repeated narrative of Chelsea “needing to suffer” not going down too well among fans.
His constant changes of formation are being treated with suspicion, and his latest switch from last week’s 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2 diamond did not lead to an improvement in performance.
Rightly or wrongly, Potter still needs to prove he is a winner to Chelsea supporters
Raheem Sterling returned to a forward role, but his struggles continue. Chelsea have managed just nine goals in seven League games under Potter, while his instinct to use players out of position has exacerbated Marc Cucurella’s problems.
Cucurella returned to his favoured left-back position yesterday, but his troubles are part of an increasing lack of solidity that sees Chelsea without a clean sheet in five matches.
Rightly or wrongly, Potter still needs to prove he is a winner to Chelsea supporters, who have been spoiled with titles under previous owner Roman Abramovich. Mikel Arteta was managing his 150th Arsenal match yesterday and has the whole club behind him, with supporters fully on board with everything he is trying to do. Potter, in contrast, still has work to do to convince Chelsea fans.